November 15 2013
photo by Liz Roll/FEMA
Just over a year ago Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the east coast of the United States, ravaging homes and businesses and claiming 117 lives. Sandy is estimated to have cost a total of more than $68 billion, a figure that is exceeded only by the cost of Hurricane Katrina's deadly assault on the Gulf Coast in 2005. Sandy affected 24 states, and was especially damaging in New Jersey and New York.
The recovery from Hurricane Sandy demonstrated the strength and resilience of the American people, yet the one-year recovery report card is not entirely rosy. There are many stories of heroism; generous donors, people from inside and outside the disaster zone stepping up in an effort to revive and rebuild. Many victims have returned to their homes, and businesses have been rebuilt. This rebuilding has been facilitated by many millions of dollars of private and government funds. But not everyone received the help they needed. Some simply gave up on rebuilding in the face of the grave financial challenges. The recovery from Sandy shows once again that how well communities bounce back from disasters depends not just on how they react after a crisis, but on how resilient they have made themselves beforehand.